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GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:29 am
by Lostdotfish
EDIT

Amending this post for general information about the generic GCPlug HDMI device such as those available from the likes of AliExpress, eBay and Amazon.

Full credit to Citrus3000psi (Dan) for creating this open source project. Go check out his store for some pretty cool hardware mods.

https://shop.dansprojects.com/

Latest firmware available is 3.0a

http://dansprojects.com/firmware/GCPlug/

You will need a CH341A USB programmer with SOIC 8 clip adapter to update the SPI chip on the GCPlug. You can also update by soldering pin headers to the board but I find the clip programmer is easier.

https://www.google.com/search?q=ch341a+programmer

You need to solder bridge JP1 in order to flash firmware and you must remember to desolder it afterwards. You will need flux and solder wick to achieve this. Future updates after 3.0a can be achieved by running a homebrew updater.

EDIT ENDS

ORIGINAL POST

Hi guys,

Just wondering if anyone has managed to update their Chinese GCPlugs to the new 3.0a firmware yet? I'm using a CH341A programmer with SPI clip straight onto the SPI chip. I've managed to back up the factory 2.4d firmware but so far all the 3.0a binaries I've tried have bricked the GCPlug. I've managed to restore it back to the 2.4d backup but keen to know if anyone else has had any luck yet?

Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:16 pm
by Papy.G
Yours came with the 2.4d?
Are there any binaries built for the GC Plug, at least?
Do you have any clue about which one will fit?

Please moderators, merge this with "received this the other day", and rename the whole thing as "Chinese GC Plug". Thank you

Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:09 pm
by Lostdotfish
Papy.G wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:16 pm
Yours came with the 2.4d?
Are there any binaries built for the GC Plug, at least?
Do you have any clue about which one will fit?

Please moderators, merge this with "received this the other day", and rename the whole thing as "Chinese GC Plug". Thank you
Yeah mine came with 2.4d on it. I can share that binary if others want it but probably best to wait for a working 3.0a release. 3.0a introduces the ability to update without using an external programmer as long as you can run homebrew (an updater dol app has been released). It's really clever, you can put the device into update mode from the OSD. Then you run the updater.dol - this homebrew actually encodes the new firmware into the video signal. The FPGA grabs the new code and updates the firmware.

I think Citrus3000psi is on the case - I'm trying to get this hardware platform added to the main GCVideo branch so that it gets future updates more easily.

Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:56 pm
by Lostdotfish

Re: Chinese GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:36 am
by Papy.G
So you got it flashed and working on your unit? 8-)

Thanks, still have to find a way to break those glue blobs and the hardware to flash the thing. :roll:

Re: Chinese GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:02 am
by Lostdotfish
Papy.G wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:36 am
So you got it flashed and working on your unit? 8-)

Thanks, still have to find a way to break those glue blobs and the hardware to flash the thing. :roll:
Yeah all done and working fine. My unit wasn't glued and I just had to unscrew it.

When you get there, you need to get the SOIC clip just right or you can't read/write the chip properly. It's obvious when it's wrong as when you read the chip it will be empty in the buffer (FF hex). I recommend you read and save the current firmware for backup before flashing the 3.0a.

Re: Chinese GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:54 am
by Papy.G
I have seen some flash it with an USB-TTL dongle connected to the pads on the edge of the board, can't it be done this way too?

Re: Chinese GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:32 pm
by Lostdotfish
Papy.G wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:54 am
I have seen some flash it with an USB-TTL dongle connected to the pads on the edge of the board, can't it be done this way too?
Probably. I'd follow this guide.

https://hdmycube.com/upgrade-instructions/

Not sure what software you'd use for the programming though.

Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:40 am
by dilav
Lostdotfish wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:09 pm
It's really clever, you can put the device into update mode from the OSD. Then you run the updater.dol - this homebrew actually encodes the new firmware into the video signal. The FPGA grabs the new code and updates the firmware.
I think I recall some very early component to HDMI adapter dongles for the Wii had a update like that. I think the update was through their website/web browser on the Wii. I thought it was smart update approach then, but I doubt they were the first to have done it that way. This is a great update though, I no longer need to disassemble my console to get to GCDual, unless I brick it of course.

Also this topic should just be called GCPlug if it pertains to only firmware updates/GCPlug in particular since Chinese GCPlug is nothing different hardware wise ATM(?).

Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:20 am
by Lostdotfish
dilav wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:40 am
Also this topic should just be called GCPlug if it pertains to only firmware updates/GCPlug in particular since Chinese GCPlug is nothing different hardware wise ATM(?).
Totally agree. Have edited the title.

Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:29 am
by GizmoTheGreen
looking at prices the Carby with metal plug is only like $15 more so I'd stick to that... gives you full size hdmi as well.

Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:09 pm
by Papy.G
Huh? Chinese knockoffs are almost half the price of a Carby, maybe less if you add shipping fees (depends on your region), unless you have a way to get a Carby for $55, it is not $15 more.

But for a fair price, you have injection moulded case, pro connector, the remote and cable, everything packed in a nice box, for all that, the Carby is still worth it, I have stated that already.

Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:04 pm
by GizmoTheGreen
odd, the ones I saw when searching gcplug on aliexpress was $50 at the cheapest.
weakness of the plastic plug is if the cable gets pulles it could short out a 12v line in the connector and fry your cube. it's been mitigated but I don't think it's perfectly safe unless you get a metal connector. insurrection sells them for $12 so I might actually give that a try.

I also noticed Carby and pluto2x uses jtag to program the spi prom via the fpga while the gcplug programs the spi directly, so in that sense the gcplug is sort easier to program?
well, not that it matters much now with firmware 3.0a-c out :)

Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:18 pm
by Extrems
Don't be fooled, JTAG is way easier and doesn't involve soldering.